Press Release

Statement by Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, On ESEA Reauthorization Bill

For Release: 

Friday, October 21, 2011


Scott Stephens


Senate education committee's approval is first step in long-delayed overhaul of nation's education law

 WASHINGTON—Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been delayed for four years. So, it is good that the Senate education committee voted last night to report out a bill that begins the reauthorization process in earnest. There is widespread agreement that No Child Left Behind needs an overhaul. It is our hope that as this bill moves through the process, attention will be paid to implementing programs and policies that improve educational opportunities for all children. 

Further improvements can and should be made to the bill, and those changes should reflect the federal government's sustained commitment to playing a role in leveling the playing field for our students who need it most. 

We commend Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) for their leadership. We are particularly pleased that the bill continues to target funding to children with the greatest needs, disaggregates data on subgroups of students, and moves toward college- and career-ready academic standards and assessments. 

The AFT will continue to work to improve the bill in several areas, including: ensuring that 360-degree accountability applies to all who affect our students' education; strengthening the role of teachers and their unions in the development of turnaround and evaluation models; and making sure that charter schools are held to the same standards as regular public schools. 

Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten:!/rweingarten.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.